Think of Facebook as a cocktail party.

I was at a wedding once on Cape Cod and the bride and groom had rented out a house for their close friends to stay at and party for 2 days leading up to the big event. One of the guests was a marketing manager for Coors. When she arrived she brought with her 10 cases of Coors products and started stocking the party coolers with them, even though the hosts had already selected other beer brands for the guests to drink. She brought out Coors t-shirts and started handing them out to the guests. She wore Coors branded clothing every day, but thankfully not at the wedding itself. It was completely inappropriate behavior for a small gathering of friends and downright obnoxious for a wedding. If I didn’t already think Coors products were awful (which I did) I certainly had an adverse opinion of the brand after this event.

And yet it’s this approach that a lot of companies use when marketing on Facebook.

Now, if that same Coors marketing manager had just been a normal guest and in the course of conversation had mentioned a new microbrew they were coming out with or had chatted me up on Coors’ environmental efforts knowing I was interested in corporate responsibility that would have been perfectly fine. I would have listened and perhaps her message might have resonated with me.

This is the approach companies and brands need to take with Facebook. Be conversational. Be informational without being super market-y. Bring value in the form of support for questions or issues. Bring hard benefits to the forum in the form of coupons or discounts. Be fun with sweepstakes or contests.

Be the life of the party.

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